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article imageGOP lobbies for removal of nonpartisan tax report

By Greta McClain     Nov 2, 2012 in Politics
Washington - Senate Republicans, unhappy with the "findings" of a Congressional Research Service report that showed no correlation between economic growth and tax cuts for the rich, pressured the nonpartisan group to withdraw the report's findings.
The report, which was originally released on September 14, 2012, was published on the Congressional Research Service's (CRS) website. Aids for various Senate Republicans told the New York Times they "protested both the tone of the report and its findings."
Aids for Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell partiality objected to the term "Bush tax cuts" and a reference to "tax cuts for the rich", prompting them to send a letter to the research service about the report and terminology.
Antonia Ferrier, spokeswoman for Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, told Reuters:
"As we would with any CRS analysis we felt fell short of their standards, our staff shared a litany of concerns with CRS over the methodology, the analysis and the conclusions."
According to the Times report, Republicans accused Thomas L. Hungerford, author of the report, of looking for a "macroeconomic" response to tax cuts within a one year period and not accounting for the lag time associated with economic policies. The report however analysed data for the last 65 years and stated:
"The results of the analysis suggest that changes over the past 65 years in the top marginal tax rate and the top capital gains tax rate do not appear correlated with economic growth. The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment, and productivity growth. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie."
The report went on to say:
"However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution. Tax policy could have a relation to how the economic pie is sliced—lower top tax rates may be associated with greater income disparities."
An employee with CRS told Reuters that a top official at CRS made the decision to remove the report from publication.
Allegations of Republican pressure to remove the report from publication have sparked a call for a probe into the exact circumstances which led to the report's withdrawal. Representative Sandy Levin, a Democrat from Michigan, sent a letter to the CRS expressing his concern over the report's withdrawal, stating:
"The impartial research and advice provided by CRS experts informs and strengthens the work of Congress. Therefore I was deeply disturbed to hear that Mr. Hungerford's report was taken down in response to political pressure from Congressional Republicans who had ideological objections to the report's factual findings and conclusion."
An August report issued by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center was also widely criticized by Republicans and the Romney campaign. The report concluded:
"Tax change that incorporates the features Governor Romney has proposed would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers."
Romney called the report a "garbage-in, garbage-out analysis" and accused the the group of bias. Lanhee Chen, Policy Director for the Romney campaign, issued a statement which said:
“This is just another biased study from a former Obama staffer that ignores critical parts of Governor Romney’s tax reform program, which will help the middle class and promote faster economic growth.”
However, a Forbes report points out that the Romney campaign had once called the group's reports “objective, third-party analysis".
Many consider both the CRS and the Tax Policy Center reports to be significant due to Romney's assertion that his tax plan, and his refusal to increase the tax burden on the wealthy, will lead to a more accelerated recovery of the U.S. economy.
More about Election 2012, 2012 presidential election, Gop, Republicans, Taxes
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